Stainless steel crowns are metal crowns that are preformed (so no need to send to a lab). They are placed over baby teeth that are badly damaged or decayed in an effort to maintain the tooth in the mouth for a natural amount of time and prevent further deterioration and decay of the tooth. Without stainless steel crowns, the baby teeth might need to be extracted which leads to concerns about insufficient space for the adult teeth to come through as well as speech and function of the child being affected.
If there is extensive tooth decay on a baby tooth, we will first clean out the decay and put on a filling. Then we may place a stainless steel crown or cap over the top of the tooth to prevent further decay around the tooth. The crown also keeps the tooth strong and helps to prevent it from fracturing or deteriorating further. When the tooth is ready to naturally exfoliate, it will come out of the mouth with the stainless steel crown still on top of it, similar to any other primary tooth.